OMT WebOrganization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management
Mayer Zald’s passing has left us with a great sense of sadness and loss. This, of course, is to be expected. We lost one of the great pillars of social scientific work at the intersection of organizational and social movement studies and we lost a dear friend and a mentor. We lost someone who was, in so many ways, the model scholar, teacher, and friend. ayer was clever, dignified, smart, and, above all else, kind.
But, after speaking with many colleagues at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association this past week in Denver, I am struck by how many of us feel something else – and that is untethered. Mayer was a great anchor for many of us, a “mother ship” to which we returned frequently. Because of his generosity of time and of spirit, he was always available for discussions, comments, advice, and for friendship. This was made ever apparent to me at the ASA meeting, when virtually every paper I heard made reference to one or another of his articles, chapters, or books. But it was also made apparent to me when small groups of us met to talk about Mayer and what he meant to us. There were stories of Mayer’s great generosity with ideas, remarks about some of his specific pedagogical innovations, tales of how he (along with his surviving wife, Joan) welcomed us into their home and their lives, and comments about how he shaped all of us in different ways (sometimes subtly and sometimes less so subtly).
Mayer leaves behind a large corpus of work, which for many of us will now be the anchor that keeps us tethered. For this, I am thankful. But I also feel blessed to have known him and to have been influenced by him in such profound ways. I know that I am not alone in this feeling.
Sarah SouleMorgridge Professor of Organizational BehaviorStanford Graduate School of BusinessAugust 21, 2012
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